Chris Clarke’s Response to Evan Newell’s Commentary
Firstly, thanks to Evan for allowing me the opportunity to comment on his article. I accept that there isn’t very much depth or
justification in my views posted in my commentaries. This is due to the fact that I was trying to keep up with play in “live” time
and didn’t have the chance to expand on my views. I also believe that lively debate is healthy for the sport and part of the fun of
playing and spectating.
I’d like deal with a few specific points.
My opinion that Mark wasn’t the best player in the event. I’ve had a couple of emails about this from people who said this
wasn’t fair. I have replied explaining that for about half the tournaments that I won during my career, I didn’t think that I was
the best player – all you have to do is to play better than your opponent each match. It certainly doesn’t mean that someone
else deserved to win or that Mark wasn’t a “satisfactory” winner!!
In my opinion, Reg and Ahmed were the best two players in the event (I thought Mark was third). Ahmed beat Mark in the block
stages in a high quality match and didn’t look troubled in most of his other matches. The fact is that Ahmed played worse in his
K.O. match vs Mark than in any of his other matches. As far as Bamford goes, he won his first 17 games of the event, most by a
wide margin. This doesn’t mean Mark didn’t deserve to win, he certainly did because he played better in each of his matches, it
simply indicates than on average form during the event, I thought Reg and Ahmed were definitely better.
I watched a fair bit of Hisham and thought he played very well on the Saturday. He was very average apart from this day and
could have been beaten by a range of opponents. Had Hisham played against Reg as he did in the final, the score would probably
have been about 7-4 7-4 to Reg. It is also relevant that the Egyptians knew that their chances of winning the event were very low
once Ahmed had been beaten.
Finally, we have Mark’s first K.O. match vs James Goodbun… 4-6 down in the decider. You need to have a bit of luck to win from
there. I often tell people that I have never won a major without being lucky. Mark could easily have lost in the first round.
None of the above takes anything away from Mark. I don’t think I was the best player when I won the worlds in 1995, but I was a
deserving winner and the same applies to Mark.
Just to add to the debate, my top 16 players were; (numbers afterwards indicate how many times out of 50 I think they might
win, on average)
1. Bamford (14)
2. A. Nasr (10)
3. M. McInerney (6)
4. S. Nafee (6)
5. El Mahdi (3)
6. M. Nasr (3)
7. Beijderwellen (1)
8. Aboesbaa (1)
9. Mulliner (1)
10. Fulford (1)
11. Nezar (1)
12. Dixon (0.5)
13. McIntosh (0.5)
14. Goodbun (0.4)
15. Bahr (0.3)
16. Evans (0.3)
17. The Field (1)